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Final ever Sweeney
09/23/12 @ 04:29:39 am, Categories: General, 1339 words   English (US)

Saturday 22/09/2012

Another morning after – after a final show, of course. Appropriately the skies are grey after yesterday’s dream weather.

Maiden Lane was heaving with fans for the arrival of the Ball. It will have been about 90 people in the end. He had the car stop and let him out a little further down the road, so most people could at least see him walking down the street, some even managed to get photos and signed programmes. He was still suffering from the cold he said but was determined to be ill on Sunday. At the door he said a few words of thanks and gave everyone the opportunity to admire his lovely suit (well, at least that’s what we did). What you don’t really see on the pictures: It was grey with thin lilac pinstripes and the seams were red.

We have to say though that our special stage door moment was quite a while earlier when there were only six of us there and Imelda arrived. She stopped and thanked us all for the support and was ever so sweet about it when we were all full of praise for her and Sweeney. Still makes us smile. A special few minutes. She also said that she had nothing planned for the matinee, just wanted to make sure these final two shows were done really well.

So, faster than you can slit a throat we were in our seats for the final matinee. Row C of the stalls was a solid fan row, as this is what you do isn’t it? You buy first night, last night and his birthday. We didn’t know whether anyone would do anything unusual as it is sort of not this kind of show. With Hairspray we knew there would be mayhem on stage – and there was! But with Sweeney? Well, no mayhem but a few little funnies DID make their way onto the Adelphi stage. And we are sure we did not see everything that was going on as this is the whole point of final matinee funnies. But here are a few things we did pick up on. Feel free to add in our Facebook group.

• before the show really starts the cast slowly gets on stage. This time everyone made it different to their usual way and it took them a lot longer to get into their usual positions
• the bird dealer is usually on the right hand side of the steps, today he moved over to the left hand side, making it ever so difficult for Lucy to perform her part
• the guy that is shaved by Sweeney during the competition did not wear simple stubble, but they painted him a Sweeney beard
• Pirelli did the money note at the end of the competition twice
• In the first scene of the second act one lady from the ensemble had a stuffed toy on her jacket pocket
• When Anthony is off to rescue Johanna he usually shakes hands with Sweeney. This time they did something like a gang handshake, really hard to explain

The audience reception at the curtain call was wonderful. Everyone was determined to say a big thank you to this amazing cast. Every single person was on their feet. The youngsters were in tears already and we wondered how they’d take the final final curtain call.

We had a lovely dinner between shows – our first ever carvery (you have a choice of three types of meat which a chef will cut from a huge roast and then you can have the sides like at a buffet). It was delicious and in style at the Strand Palace! We had a great time with many fellow fans. Thanks for having us!

And there we were: the final ever performance of Sweeney Todd. Merely the thought of never ever seeing him perform Epiphany again is enough to bring on not so mild bouts of depression, so best not focus on this….

It was an incredible performance. Everyone on stage was determined to make it the best ever and the audience LOVED every second of it. So appreciative. Imelda had entrance applause (Michael’s first entrance sadly doesn’t lend itself to be interrupted by applause) and she stayed back after a momentous Epiphany so people had time to applaud him whereas usually with the new arrangement she would approach him very quickly and continue the scene so there is no gap for applause.

We tried to make ourselves aware that this would really be the last time we will see so much talent come together to perform this amazing work of art so we could appreciate it properly. The only downside was that a very eager crowd applauded over the final looooong note of Johanna. Sigh. What a shame. We can understand the urge to clap when he seems to sing this one beautiful note for an eternity but would have loved to have heard it till the end. Ah well, as Mrs Lovett would put it.

No speeches at the curtain call sadly. But most of the cast was in tears anyways with an audience making so much noise that it was probably heard all the way down Fleet Street! No one wanted to let this amazing cast go and so they had to return not twice (as is usual) but FOUR times to take their bows. Michael and Imelda always leading the pack. 1500 people on their feet and 40 performers in tears on the stage. It was just perfect. What a way to go.

Stage door afterwards was the expected chaos with the added complications of it being a Saturday and the pubs and clubs really busy. It was a wise decision of Michael to only to the “Evita act” and come to the window. So everyone would see him. As we are used to by now we were quite an attraction to the other cast members who rarely witnessed a crowd like this. They were leaning out of the windows of their dressing rooms, waving, calling out words of thanks, taking photos and filming us. Peter Polycarpou came to his window too and showed us his freshly shaven face and thanked everyone. We could see that Michael had his family in the dressing room and Connor and Grace dared a few glances out of the windows, waving at us all. They were ever so sweet.

Finally the main man came to the window – beardless. What a transformation! He said his thanks and Imelda joined him at the window. So the Ball is back, Mr Todd has left the building. Boy will we miss him! And will we miss the beard. We know many did not like it, but in our opinion, he looked amazing with it and we are not beard girls.

Joan Bowe (the Judge) was there as well and when Michael returned to the window to ask how everyone liked the beardless Ball John made like strangling his arch enemy. It was good fun. But then they retreated further into the room and a curtain was pulled. We knew they were having a little do in the theatre so this was our cue to leave the stage door. He has said his good-byes to everyone and should be allowed to party in peace.

It was very hard to leave Maiden Lane. What an amazing six months. A year when you count Chichester. We have seen a side of Michael no one knew existed and have heard music so beautiful it should be illegal (but luckily isn’t). Thank you to the wonderful cast of Sweeney Todd, to our wonderful friends who made the stage door-ing so much fun and especially to Michael and Imelda for letting us witness such glorious talent again and a again. Memories we will treasure forever for sure.

Back to reality now – and it is grey, wet and not in the UK. How sad. We need perspective, Mr Ball! Plans? Dates? PLEASE! And soon!


On the road with Michael Ball.
September 2012
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